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Life Coaching IS Mental Health Coaching


Life Coaches are "adulting" coaches... they help clients overcome roadblocks to LIFE SUCCESS through encouragement, empowerment, accountability, and reframing and exploring the story they keep telling themselves. Therapists also help clients achieve life success, however they focus on clinical issues and mental health diagnoses, instead of treating roadblocks and unhealthy behavioral patterns.


I'm often asked if life coaches must be certified or have specialized training. These are actually two similar but separate questions. Life coaches can have specialized training and not be certified. Certifications are not required and that is probably not the question you want to be asking. Anyone can pay $50 and get certified in life coaching.

Amazing, great life coaches have some type of advanced training in motivational interviewing, inspiring and motivating clients to make changes, and behavioral modification or psychological principles. They have developed skills of active listening and reflecting on feelings, thoughts, and motivations.

Life Coaches simply help clients live their best lives. They help clients improve success in one or more areas by helping clients clarify their goals, identify steps they can take to achieve their goals, and hold them accountable for achieving success. Life Coaches also teach lifestyle skills and provide education on ways to overcome challenges, thrive, and achieve life success.

EMOTION COACHING is part of LIFE COACHING! Life Coaching can include:

  • wellness/lifestyle coaching

  • business/executive/business coaching

  • relationship/marital coaching

  • parent/child coaching

  • conflict resolution

  • stress management

  • work/life balance

  • financial coaching

DBT COACHING is on of my favorite examples of life coaching. Created by Marsha LInehan in the 90's, DBT (Dialectical Behavior Therapy) is a clinical type of intervention first used to reduce self harm behaviors and decrease clinical depression and anxiety. A full DBT program traditionally consists of weekly individual psychotherapy, 3 hour DBT Skills Training Classes and DBT Coaching. Group skills include modules of Mindfulness, Emotion Regulation, Interpersonal/Relationship Skills, and Meaning Making Skills. Much of the early research on the effectiveness of DBT focused on programs using all components. Since then, DBT has been modified to treat many different conditions, such as ADD/ADHD, impulsivity, trauma, abuse, disordered eating, substance abuse and addictions, just to name a few.

I love the DBT Skill and Coaching Components because they are simple to learn and implement, regardless of any mental health conditions or diagnoses. All individuals can learn and implement the skills to improve their quality of life. For example, PLEASE skills focus on reducing your vulnerability to stress. As humans, we all experience stress.

Many of us have also, at one time or another, experienced a highly stressful live event that has overwhelmed us. By maintaining regular sleep rituals, taking medication (as prescribed) and vitamins, eating nourishing foods our body needs, moving our bodies, helping others, and taking time for ourselves, we reduce our vulnerability to our emotions.

Many DBT program clinicians focus on implementing all aspects of DBT, which may be doing a disservice to clients who are high functioning and motivated to make life changes. While DBT approaches are often used in hospital or intensive outpatient clinical settings, DBT can be used with clients of all functioning levels.

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Sara Minges, B.A., M.S. is a former therapist, DBT Life Coach, Speaker, Author, Poet and Founder of Playful Awareness. She's been featured in yahoo parenting, Lawrence Journal World, KMBC, Fox4 News, and a guest speaker for The Gifters and First Generations podcast. Sara has 20+ years of experience providing life coaching services to individuals and families. Sara is also the Creator of The Goddess Plan, an anti-diet, DBT based gut health and self-love coaching program for women. Sara can be reached by email at

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